Rise in rankings: Rafael Nadal, right, with the US Open trophy and South African runner-up Kevin Anderson pose in New York. Picture: REUTERS
Rise in rankings: Rafael Nadal, right, with the US Open trophy and South African runner-up Kevin Anderson pose in New York. Picture: REUTERS

New York — Kevin Anderson says do not count him out just yet even after an impressive two-week run to his first Grand Slam final ended in failure by losing to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final.

The big-serving South African fell to the top-ranked Spaniard 6-3 6-3 6-4, never managing a break-point chance in falling to 0-5 lifetime versus the 16-time Slam winner.

"I’d love to build on these two weeks," Anderson said. "It was very difficult, but I was able to find my way into the finals. I’ll work very hard to hopefully give myself another opportunity."

Sad yet bolstered, an Anderson who has worked to be more emotional in matches was of two minds after finishing.

"It’s a bit of both. It’s a tough loss, but it was obviously a great experience. A lot of talk about enjoying the experience and stuff. It was very tough, but definitely a part of that were a few moments that were pretty special. There were a few lessons I learned from him. I think a lot of the good memories will definitely surface."

He was the first South African in the US Open final since Cliff Drysdale in 1965 and in any Slam final since Kevin Curren at the 1984 Australian Open.

At 32nd in the rankings, Anderson was the lowest-ranked finalist in US Open history, eclipsing 22nd-ranked Australian Mark Philippoussis from 1998.

With his run to the finals, Anderson will jump to 15th in the new rankings despite hip, thigh, leg and elbow injuries that had forced him out of four tournaments in 2017 and a fourth-ranked French Open match against Marin Cilic.

With a now mildly modest goal of reaching the top 10 and four of those ahead of him likely out for the rest of 2017, Anderson might approach his career-best ranking of 10th from October 2015 — a number he would have reached on Monday had he upset Nadal.

"The target of getting back to 10 is something I set myself a little while ago," Anderson said. "Got off to a bit of a tough start this year, but this summer I’ve really put myself in a good position. When I’m taking care of the stuff I need to, the ranking will take care of itself."

AFP

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